After much controversy and politicking and social concern and all sorts of (still ongoing) drama, the 2021 Copa América looks set to go ahead in Brazil, starting this Sunday.
The tournament was originally set to take place in 2020 (with the Copa moving to an even-years schedule, just like the Euros), but was pushed back to 2021 (as were the Euros) due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And while the pandemic is still going strong in South America, including Brazil, the tournament is still set to go ahead (with just 10 teams, less the 2 non-South American invited teams, and without any fans) — and in Brazil, of all countries, having been just recently switched away from co-hosts Colombia (due to social unrest) and Argentina (due to the pandemic).
At one point, it even looked like Brazil themselves (the players, that is) weren’t going to participate (with the federation perhaps drafting in an entirely new and willing side of replacements), but as per their collective official statement today, they are willing to do so for the shirt.
“We are a cohesive group, but we have different ideas. For many reasons, humanitarian or professional, we are not satisfied with the conduct shown by CONMEBOL ahead of this Copa America.
“All the recent events have led us to believe that there has been an inadequate process. […] We’re against the way this Copa America has been organised, but we will never say no to the Brazilian national team.”
-Brazil statement; source: Marca
The 24-man squad thus confirmed includes injured Chelsea center back Thiago Silva, who’s presumably okay to play after being forced off in the first half of our Champions League final a couple weeks ago with what looked like a groin injury.
GOALKEEPERS: Alisson (Liverpool), Ederson (Manchester City), Weverton (Palmeiras)
DEFENDERS: Emerson (Barcelona), Danilo, Alex Sandro (Juventus), Renan Lodi, Felipe (Atletico Madrid), Éder Militão (Real Madrid), Marquinhos (Paris Saint-Germain), Thiago Silva (Chelsea)
MIDFIELDERS: Casemiro (Real Madrid), Douglas Luiz (Aston Villa), Everton Ribeiro (Flamengo), Fabinho (Liverpool), Fred (Manchester United), Lucas Paquetá (Lyon)
FORWARDS: Everton (Benfica), Roberto Firmino (Liverpool), Gabriel Barbosa (Flamengo), Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City), Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain), Richarlison (Everton), Vinicius Junior (Real Madrid)